I read a great article by Andrew Byers, and I wish I had saved the link so I could direct you to it, but he was talking about purity as a Christian in today’s culture of so much violence, sex, and nudity, and what does that look like.
He starts off by talking about how as a Christian culture, we try so hard to be relevant, that we don’t want to be known as “prude”, because then we are afraid of becoming “out of touch”. But then he makes this point:
“Did Jesus say in Matthew 5:8, “Out-of-touch are the pure in heart,” or did He call them “Blessed”?
“Be wise as serpents, and as culture-savvy as the average viewer”? Or is it, “Be wise as serpents and innocent as doves”? (Matthew 10:16).”
~ Andrew Byers
“My point, rather, is that innocence is precious and preserving it is not a vice. It is OK for us to be offended by the offensive. We are not to be moralistic [one who teaches or promotes morality], but we are called to be moral. Scripture beckons us to purity (Matthew 5:8), to wholesome speech (Ephesians 4:29), to honoring the sanctity of the marriage bed (Hebrews 13:4), to discerning good and evil (Romans 12:2). Somehow, we need to learn how to be culture-savvy and yet also innocent as doves.” ~Andrew Byers
It’s ok for something we see on television to offend us, for us to want to turn away from watching something. We shouldn’t be ashamed of saying “I’m not going to watch this”. It’s scriptural. That isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it should be encouraged and we need to be ok with that.
But he acknowledges that everyone is different, and some people don’t have the same convictions as us…
“When it comes to appropriating culture, the lines can be fuzzy. Paul acknowledged that some Christians in Rome and Corinth could handle certain cultural elements that other Christians needed to avoid […] For us to judge one another would be wrong.” ~ Andrew Byers
I’ve recently been struggling through this. Because there are a lot of things I watch or listen too that doesn’t bother me, but I know bothers other people. So on one hand, I really enjoy some of the shows I watch, on the other, I know that some people can’t handle it. So what do I do?
Some people struggle with different things. And that’s ok. What that means is that you need to be careful about what you recommend, or what you say if someone can’t watch something you do, or if they can watch something you find to be “immoral”. We shouldn’t let our fear of corruption, or our distaste for what might be ok for someone else to cause us to shelter ourselves from the world around us.
Andrew Byers closed with this thought, and I think it sums it all up nicely, so I’ll close with his thought too:
“When Jesus called his disciples to innocence in Matthew 10, the occasion was His sending them out into culture. Innocence is not a virtue we practice by extracting ourselves from society. It is a virtue practiced while embedded within it—for our culture’s own good” ~ Andrew Byers
Commenters: What are you thoughts on innocence and purity? (and I’m not just asking Christians, I’d love some other views too!)